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Shrub or small tree 1-4 m tall as well as wide, bark smooth, gray. Habit informal, shrub with distinctive willow-like foliage. Young twigs, buds, stipules, petioles and peduncles covered with short tawny or rufous pubescence. Branchlets green, slender c. 2 mm diam., becoming gray and glabrous later. Leaves evergreen, coriaceous, narrowly oblancelate to linear, 5-9 ×1-2 cm, sharply acute to acuminate at apex, narrowly acute at base; leaf blades adaxially dark green and glabrous, abaxially pale green to glaucous with sparse tawny pubescence, becoming glabrous; secondary veins distinct, 13-17 pairs; reticulation distinct both sides. Petioles 4-10 mm long; stiplule scars extending to 40-50% of the length of the petiole. Flowers on short axillary shoots (brachyblasts), sweetly scented; tepals 6-8, white, 1.5-3 × 0.5-2.0 cm, narrowly to broadly obovate, apex acute to cuspidate. Gynophore 5-7 mm long, with short tawny pubescence. Peduncle 5-8 mm long, usually with 2 internodes. Stamens numerous, creamy-white, 0.9-1.2 cm long, remaining persistent to the androphore through male-phase. Fruits apocarpus, usually remaining green until dehiscence, 2.7-6.9 cm long; carpels 1 to 10, glabrous, ovoid to ellipsoid, 8-16 mm long, 7-11 mm diam.; ovules par carpel 2-6. Seeds with red-orange sarcotesta; testa dark brown, smooth. Flowering March-April, fruiting (July-)August-September..
Distribution SE Yunnan, Gejiu County
Habitat Subtropical forest thickets at elevations of 1700-21000 m asl
USDA Hardiness Zone 8-9
Taxonomic note A relatively new species from Gejiu Country in SE Yunnan Province, M. amabilis is treated as a syn. of Magnolia laevifolia by Xia et al. (Magnoliaceae in Flora of China.2008), however it differs from that species by its stipule scar of 40-50% of the length of the petiole (vs. nearly 100%), narrower leaves with 13-17 pairs of secondary veins (vs. shorter/broader leaves with 7-9 pairs), and tepals with acute to cuspidate apices (vs. mostly obtuse to rounded apices).